All of the signs were there for another disappointing Jets loss to Peyton Manning: questionable play calls, dropped passes, and of course the Colts taking a 16-14 lead with 53 seconds remaining in the game. There was no way that the Jets could recover, right?
Well if you have learned anything about the 2010/2011 New York Jets it is that they are a resilient team that will give everything that they have for sixty minutes. Gang Green, spearheaded by a huge 47-yard kickoff return by Antonio Cromartie, once again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as Nick Folk kicked a game winning 32-yard field goal with no time remaining. Jets 17 Colts 16 unreal. Here are some of my notes from the game.
Solid offensive line play- Enough cannot be said about the offensive line’s performance on Saturday night. The Jets O-line led by Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson consistently won the battles at the line of scrimmage as Gang Green rushed for 169 yards. In addition the line only yielded one sack and did an excellent job containing pass rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
LT lights it up- Once again running back LaDainian Tomlinson showed that he has something left in the tank as he rushed for 82 yards including 2 touchdowns (both one yard). Tomlinson ran with an explosive nature, several times carrying defenders after initial contact. I think it is safe to say that the Jets decision to rest LT in the final week of the season paid huge dividends on Saturday. It is more than evident that Tomlinson is well rested and prepared to take on the load when asked to do so.
Braylon comes up big- Once again Braylon Edwards came up big when the game mattered the most. Edwards had a huge 18-yard catch on the final drive leaving the Jets in position to kick the game winning field goal. Braylon continues to show consistent hands and finished the game with 4 catches for 62 yards. Edwards also did an excellent job in the running game as he routinely finished his blocks and contained his defender.
Sanchez ok- Heading into the game there were several concerns surrounding Mark Sanchez and his sore shoulder. Sanchez quickly eliminated those concerns as he zipped several passes early on in the game. Overall Mark had an up and down game as he made as many nice throws as he missed. Rust could have been a factor but he played well enough for his team to win which matters the most in the end.
Questionable playcalling- Lost in the hysteria of the Jets win is the fact that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer made several questionable play calls with the game on the line. Schottenheimer continues to use the wildcat formation which will not be a true threat until Brad Smith starts throwing the ball. Also on the next to last drive of the game there was a 3rd and 5 play call that resulted with Sanchez throwing an incomplete deep ball. I understand the concept of being aggressive, but at that point in the game you need a better play call than that.
Welcome to Revis Island- Reggie Wayne: 1 catch for 1 yard. To say cornerback Darrelle Revis had an excellent game is an understatement. I think it was almost to the point that Peyton Manning stopped looking Wayne’s way.
Secondary solid- For the most part the Jets secondary did a solid job against the Colts explosive passing game. Safeties Brodney Pool and Eric Smith made several big tackles and the defensive backs held their own while in man coverage. Antonio Cromartie was beaten for one big play but overall he did a good job on Pierre Garcon.
Smart game plan- While the Jets did not generate a ferocious pass rush on Manning they did force him into running situations which could have been the key to the Jets winning the game. Instead of their all out blitz mode Gang Green conceded the run, which Manning continued to check down to. This was a very effective game plan, one that I can see other teams using in the future.
You have to give this Jets team a ton of credit as they beat a quality team, on the road, in the playoffs. Gang Green had a solid game plan, executed it fairly well, and played hard for sixty minutes. You really cannot ask for much more than that.
Next up for the Jets will be their nemesis the New England Patriots. Gang Green will more than likely be huge underdogs in this game, but as we all know anything can happen on any given Sunday. For now I am going to savor this victory over Peyton Manning and the Colts as it was a tremendous effort by the New York Jets.